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Empty Eyes
Empty Eyes.gif
Season 7
Number 18
Writer Allen MacDonald
Director Michael Slovis
Original Airdate March 29, 2007
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Next Episode: Big Shots

Empty Eyes is the eighteenth episode in season seven of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

Six sexy showgirls are murdered in their home. One of them, a beautiful half dead woman, dies in Sara's arms, leaving behind some clues to the killer's identity.

Plot

Victims: Cammie Brookston (deceased), Emily Wilson (deceased), Jennifer Smith (deceased), Lauren Walderson (deceased), Libby Cooperson (deceased), Rebecca Mayford (deceased)

On the case: Entire team

Two Vegas showgirls arrive home and marvel at the mess in the kitchen. Their roommates are upstairs blaring loud music; the two girls smile at each other and rush upstairs to join the party.

The house is next shown completely dark as Sara traverses through the kitchen avoiding the empty wine bottle on the floor. As she makes her way upstairs, she sees a bloody shoeprint. A flashback shows the two girls arriving upstairs; as one of them enters one of the rooms, she is seemingly yanked inside with muffled screams heard before the door shuts.

Back in the present, Warrick is photographing three dead girls in one of the rooms, while Grissom is in another room with another body. Grissom has Sara process the next room down the hall, which contains another body. Sara notes that this makes five; however, the boyfriend of one of the victims phoned the murders in and said that six girls lived in the house. As Sara processes the final room, she notices a blood trail leading under the bed. When she leans down, a hand lunges out and scratches her in the face. She soon sees that it's another victim. As Sara reassures her, the girl repeatedly asks for help.

Outside, the boyfriend of one of the girls tells Sofia that he has a key to the house and that he didn't need to use because the front door was open. He called the police when he saw all the blood. Meanwhile, Sara speaks with Brass and replays her encounter with the girl under the bed. A flashback shows the girl telling Sara that her name is Cammie and that the "man" attacked her. When asked what the man looked like, Cammie only gets out the words "poor," "wine," "breast" and "knife" before she succumbs to her injuries.

The bloody shoe impression on the stairs is a size 11. Upstairs in the room Grissom is in, David Phillips tells him that the victim's name is Rebecca Mayford, who was identified by her boyfriend. While the other five victims had their throats slashed, Rebecca's neck was clean. Instead, she received at least a dozen stab wounds to the chest and abdomen. Time of death is put at two hours ago, consistent with all of the other victims except Cammie. Greg enters and Grissom shows him that the window in the room was partially kicked out with a bare foot. Since Rebecca was wearing socks, he thinks one of the other girls was in the room at some point. Photos around the room indicate that this wasn't Rebecca's room. Greg notices that the bindings were cut from the sheets, and Grissom guesses that the killer came to the house unprepared. He notes that it is said that a disorganized killer is apt to obtain his victims by chance.

Catherine process the bathroom and finds an impression made in some spilled powder on the counter. In the garbage can, she finds several bloody tissues that she bags as evidence. Grissom enters the room Warrick is processing and looks at the pictures, noting that the girl in the pictures is the victim from the room he was working in. Warrick tells him that he found beige carpet fibers on the three victims in his room consistent with the hallway carpet. The girls also have rug burns on their knees. Evidence suggests that the killer herded all of the girls into one room after tying them up with bedsheets and dragging them there. When asked why Rebecca was separated, Grissom figures that either Rebecca excited the killer sexually or made him angry. Catherine enters and says that the impression she found in the bathroom was the grip of a gun. They conclude that the killer used the gun for crowd control, with the goal of reducing noise so the neighbors couldn't hear. Outside, Sara finds a lawn chair propped up under the knob of the back door; she finds several prints upon dusting it.

The following morning, Nick photographs the kitchen and tells Sara that the wine bottle on the floor has a custom label. The label reads "From Lewis," and Sara remembers Cammie mentioning the word "wine." A red Chrysler is then shown parked on the side of the rode with the killer presumably in the driver's seat. He listens to the radio broadcast about the murders and takes a drink from a flask.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins has the six bodies laid out and gives Sara the rundown. All six victims had ligature marks on their wrists and ankles, with Jennifer suffering fractured ribs. Everyone except Rebecca died from exsanguination from neck wounds made from a sharp instrument. Cammie was alive when Sara found her because her would wasn't as deep, and she likely applied pressure to help stop the bleeding. Doc Robbins reveals that, based on her C-section scar, Cammie gave birth some time ago. Evidence shows that both Emily and Lauren may have had consensual sex in the hours before they died; however, Rebecca was raped. Several of the stab wounds on Rebecca's body suggest that the killer thrust the knife into her, partially withdrew it and thrusted it back in. An x-ray shows that the tip of the knife is still inside Rebecca.

Catherine tells Grissom that there were six bloody towels in the garbage can in the bathroom; each one of them contained blood from only one victim. The pattern on each towel is consistent with the killer wiping off the blood after killing each victim. Due to the way the towels were found in the garbage (bottom = first kill), Catherine puts together the order in which the girls were killed - Emily, Lauren, Libbie, Cammie, Jennifer and Rebecca. However, Grissom notes that the girls were found in different bedrooms and that the order has no logic to it. Rebecca was definitely killed last, as it's her blood that was tracked throughout the house. Grissom asks why the killer wiped the knife after each kill, and Catherine guesses that it was to maintain control; a clean knife might make the girls think that the others were still alive.

Hodges calls Sara and leaves her a voice mail telling her that the knife tip recovered from Rebecca was ceramic and that it came from a very sharp knife. As he process Libby's clothes, he hears a cell phone buzzing; her mother is calling. Hodges answers, introduces himself and tells Libby's mother the bad news.

Sara tells Greg that the footprint found on the window belongs to Jennifer. She guesses that Jennifer tried to escape, but was caught in the act. This would explain why Cammie suffered a shallower wound - the killer slashed Cammie, but got distracted by Jennifer's attempted escape. He dragged Jennifer down the hall and killed her, but never went back to check if he had killed Cammie.

In the A/V lab, Archie finds an article online highlighting the six girls moving into the fancy house. Based on the location listed and the house being in the background, Archie guesses that a stalker could easily find where the girls lived. The article's author is Lewis Greyburg, and Warrick notes that the name "Lewis" was found on the wine bottle in the kitchen. After Archie zooms in on the photo, Warrick realizes that he recognizes Emily, but that he hadn't seen her in years. Warrick visits Emily's grandmother (who is also his old next-door neighbor) and gives her the bad news about her granddaughter.

Lewis is brought into interrogation. He tells Nick and Sara that he followed the girls around for a week as research for his article and gifted them a bottle of wine as a thank you. The girls had raised money for a charity to help a fellow showgirl and gave out gift bags that contained, among other things, a ceramic knife. Lewis says that the knife had a purple handle embossed with the name of the friend and the date. Nick notices that the shoes Lewis is wearing have similar treads to the bloody prints found in the house. Lewis denies killing anyone and provides an alibi, but Nick tells him that they're taking his knife and shoes and that they're getting a DNA sample from him.

Nick prints one of Lewis's shoes, but find that the treads don't match the bloody ones found in the house. Elsewhere, Greg tells Grissom that each ligature tied to the girls contained female DNA; however, the DNA didn't belong to the girl that was tied up. They guess that one of the girls was forced to tie up her friends while being held at gunpoint. Meanwhile, Hodges tells Sara that ceramic is like glass and it can be compared to other sources. He says that both Lewis's knife and the murder weapon have the same composition, color, texture and thickness. This means that the killer could have gotten the knife from the charity event the girls hosted or he could have found the knife in the house.

Mandy tells Nick that she was able to left two sets of prints from the wine bottle; one set was a smudge, but the other set belong to a Chris Mullins, a musician at the show where the girls danced. Nick, Sara, Brass and some officers visit Chris's residence, but are unable to find him. They're told that Chris frequents a bar down the street. As Brass goes to put out a broadcast on Chris's vehicle, cop cars and an ambulance whiz by. They find out that they're heading to the Trip Wire Bar down the street, as someone has been assaulted with a deadly weapon. In the parking lot of the bar, Marlon Frost has been found with his throat slashed. A ceramic purple knife with a broken tip is close by. As Marlon is taken into the ambulance, Sara goes with him to keep him company in an effort to partially make up for not being able to help Cammie.

Inside the bar, the bartender recognizes both Marlon and Chris from their photos. Chris is found coming out of the bathroom and brought to the station for interrogating. There, Chris denies killing the girls and stabbing Marlon. He does admit to drinking the wine, which places him in the house the night the girls were murdered. Chris says that he had messing around with Lauren for a short while and that they had sex in the other girls' beds as an inside joke, which is why his fingerprints were found in every room. When presented with more evidence, Chris admits to also having had sex with Emily before he asks for a lawyer.

DNA confirms Chris's story. Nick was able to match the broken knife tip found in Rebecca to the knife found outside the bar. Warrick figures that whoever attacked Marlon also killed the girls, but wonders why Chris would attack Marlon then walk back into the bar. The same smudges were found on the knife and the wine bottle, but it's not enough to put the knife in Chris' hands. Grissom points out that the evidence suggests that the killer was unfamiliar with the layout of the house, and that Chris admitted to having been in the house a few times.

At the hospital, Sara photographs Marlon's injuries and takes his fingerprints; he watches her the whole time. She notices that the fingerprints all come back as smudges. When she turns over Marlon's hands, she sees that his fingers have no ridge detail. Sara looks Marlon right in the eyes and seems to know the truth. Marlon grabs her with both hands; in doing so, he reveals that he has a port wine birthmark on his upper chest. After releasing herself from Marlon's grip, she interprets Cammie's dying words as "port wine."

Sara hurriedly tells Grissom everything about Marlon - he has a port wine birthmark, his fingerprints are smudges (the same found on the knife) and they can probably get DNA off of his bloody clothes. She guesses that Marlon tried to kill himself, adding that his blood alcohol level was .34 when he was taken to the hospital, a level only a chronic alcoholic can function at. This means that it's quite possible Marlon took a swig of wine at the scene. Sure enough, the DNA from the bottle matches a David Marlon; his photo matches Marlon's.

Brass briefs the media and tells them that the suspect's name is David Marlon and that he also goes by the name Marlon Frost. He has been released from California State Penitentiary, where he served time for sexual assault. David is also wanted in the questioning of the assault of an elderly woman in North Lake Tahoe a week before with the belief that he stole her vehicle and then fled to Vegas.

Nick and Sara process the stolen car, which was found a block from the bar with its original license plates still attached. In the trunk, they find a few garbage bags. One of the bags contains six ladies handbags. Nick opens one of the handbags and finds Rebecca's driver's license along with a fresh pack of cigarettes. There's also a receipt for the cigarettes showing that she purchased them at the bar. Sara guesses that that is where Rebecca and Marlon crossed paths. Sara finds a gun and is surprised to see that it's plastic. Nick notes how real the gun looks and that it looks even more real if you're petrified.

Sara speaks with Cammie's ex, Corey. He tells her that Cammie gave birth to a baby girl; however, since the two of them were two young to be parents, they gave the girl up for adoption. Cammie and Corey named the baby Fin, and Sara flashes back to Cammie's last words, which appear to be "Bye. Fin."

In the hospital, Marlon tells Brass that he saw a girl he liked at the bar and followed her home knowing that she wanted to party. A flashback shows Rebecca simply looking in Marlon's direction in the bar and smiling. Marlon says that Rebecca was flirting with him and that he went to give her the party of her life. Brass asks Marlon why he's smiling, and Marlon tells him that he doesn't feel anything about what he's done.

Sara tearfully watches the news report saying that Marlon has been arrested for the girls' murders. She tells Grissom that she held Marlon's hand like she held Rebecca's and that she lost perspective. Grissom wipes a tear from eye and puts his arm around her as they walk down the hallway and out of view.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

Quotes

Nick: It was good that you were there for her, Sara. She didn't have to die alone.
Sara (sadly): We usually show up too late to meet the victim.

Notes

  • A Parental Discretion Advised warning was given with this episode.
  • In the room that Grissom is processing at the house, there's a poster of the rapper Dollar from the season 6 episode Poppin' Tags.

Trivia

  • The case appears to be based on the real-life mass murder committed by Richard Speck in 1966. Like Speck, the killer killed a number of women inside a single house, tying them up with torn sheets, raping and stabbing them. As with Speck, part of the evidence implicating the suspect was a skin mark (a tattoo for Speck, a large birthmark for the killer). Also, both killers tried to kill themselves with a sharp instrument after their killings and had prior histories of sexual assaults.
  • Tiffany Dupont (Cammie Brookston) has done the trifecta, playing Rachel Petrella in Last Straw and as Hayley Montgommery in Hide Sight as well.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 7
Built to Kill, Part 1Built to Kill, Part 2Toe TagsFannysmackin'Double CrossBurn OutPost MortemHappenstanceLiving LegendLoco MotivesLeaving Las VegasSweet JaneRedrumMeet MarketLaw of GravityMonster in the BoxFallen IdolsEmpty EyesBig ShotsLab RatsEnding HappyLeapin' LizardsThe Good, The Bad, And The DominatrixLiving Doll
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